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An Alternative Proof Method for Possibilistic Logic and its Application to Terminological Logics

Bernhard Hollunder
DFKI, DFKI Research Reports (RR), Vol. 93-01, 1993.


Possibilistic logic, an extension of first-order logic, deals with uncertainty that can be estimated in terms of possibility and necessity measures. Syntactically, this means that a first-order formula is equipped with a possibility degree or a necessity degree that expresses to what extent the formula is possibly or necessarily true. Possibilistic resolution, an extension of the well-known resolution principle, yields a calculus for possibilistic logic which respects the semantics developed for possibilistic logic. A drawback, which possibilistic resolution inherits from classical resolution, is that it may not terminate if applied to formulas belonging to decidable fragments of first-order logic. Therefore we propose an alternative proof method for possibilistic logic. The main feature of this method is that it completely abstracts from a concrete calculus but uses as basic operation a test for classical entailment. If this test is decidable for some fragment of first-order logic then possibilistic reasoning is also decidable for this fragment. We then instantiate possibilistic logic with a terminological logic, which is a decidable subclass of first-order logic but nevertheless much more expressive than propositional logic. This yields an extension of terminological logics towards the representation of uncertain knowledge which is satisfactory from a semantic as well as algorithmic point of view.